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A Q&A With Sapling Spirits: Creating a B Corp Spirit Brand

by Wolf & Badger

B Corp spirit brand Sapling Spirits exists for three reasons, to help lead the way with sustainability in the drinks industry, tackle climate change, and make world class spirits. They focus on reforestation, regenerative farming, waste reduction and eco packaging. Made exclusively in the UK, Sapling use farming methods that create a more healthy, living soil and increase biodiversity, while capturing loads of CO2.

For every bottle you buy, a tree is planted. On each bottle a unique code tells you what tree was planted where and a little about the planting project. From fruit trees in London to Oak trees in Bristol, its the local communities who benefit from their planting projects. (Source: Sapling)

We caught up with co-founders Ivo and Ed, to chat to them about Sapling Spirits, and their climate positive mission.

Tell us about Sapling! Where did the idea to launch the brand come from?

The idea of Sapling came from our shared passion for sustainability and a desire to make a meaningful impact on the world. As founders, we were initially involved in tree-planting projects in Scotland but struggled to engage volunteers. We then realised the power of combining sustainability and entertainment so started organising music festivals with cocktail bars, where we planted a tree for every bottle sold. The fusion of fun and environmental consciousness inspired Sapling Spirits, with a mission to redefine the spirits industry through sustainable practices. 

What’s it like working together? 

Working together at Sapling is great. As founders, we both share a common vision and values, driving us to work collaboratively towards our brand goals. We each have different strengths and perspectives which ensures we make more rounded and thoughtful decisions. It’s amazing to see our collective efforts come together and support Sapling’s expansion and positive impacts on the environment.

It’s brilliant to see Sapling is a B-Corp brand. Why was becoming B-Corp certified important to Sapling?  

Becoming a B Corp brand was a significant milestone for Sapling, reflecting our unwavering commitment to social and environmental responsibility.  It was important to us because it provided an external validation of our sustainable practices and demonstrated our dedication to transparency and accountability. Being B Corp aligns with our ethos of using the business as a force for good, and it reinforces our mission to create a positive impact on the world. 

Similarly to Wolf & Badger, sustainability is one of Sapling’s core values. How is this value shown throughout your supply chain and production? 

Sustainability is ingrained in every aspect of our supply chain and production process. From sourcing local ingredients to partnering with eco-conscious distilleries, we prioritise reducing our environmental footprint. Our mission to plant a tree per bottle sold not only mitigates carbon emissions but also promotes reforestation and biodiversity. We strive to minimise waste and embrace regenerative practices, ensuring that sustainability remains at the forefront of everything we do. We have a keen focus on supporting our on trade partners and consumers to reduce their carbon footprint further with initiatives such as Sapling's eco-friendly refill pouches where we are creating a circular refill scheme to sign up to. Every tree we plant is in addition to our carbon neutrality.

Sapling has made a huge positive impact through regenerative farming, reforestation, and waste reduction. Can you explain why these initiatives are important to you, and if you think it’s important other spirit brands follow suit?

These initiatives are so important to us because they embody our core values and mission. Regenerative farming, reforestation and waste reduction are vital for mitigating environmental degradation and promoting ecosystem health. We hope to inspire other spirits brands to adopt sustainable practices and prioritise social and environmental responsibility. 

As a B-Corp making waves in the food and beverage industry, do you think the future of the industry has the opportunity to become a climate-positive one?

Absolutely, the food and beverage industry has immense potential to drive positive change. By embracing sustainable practices, reducing emissions & waste we can all do our part for the planet. The industry can play a significant role in mitigating change. Consumer demand for eco-friendly products is growing, presenting an opportunity for brands to lead the way towards a more sustainable and climate positive future.  

What are the key focuses for Sapling Spirits this year?

We hope to shine more light on our existing ‘Wonky Fruit’ range, highlighting the importance of flavour over appearance and raising awareness about food waste. Additionally, we remain committed to our tree planting initiative, aiming to reach our goal of planting 1 million trees by 2027! We will also be launching our regenerative range, so watch this space.

What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you through starting Sapling? 

The weirdest / one of the funnest parts was being approached by a major Scottish wholesale business to partner on a new celebrity alcohol product. They wanted us to build a distillery and produce their liquid for them (they had heard about Sapling in a Diageo meeting). We played the video game Tekan with them at one of their warehouses in Glasgow (which felt a little like an initiation test) before engaging in our first tasting session. A year of hard work went on before we ended up pulling the plug on the project. A lot was learnt and some fun times were had.

What’s your favorite thing about running a spirit brand? 

The people behind this industry are generally lovely and very helpful. There are few industries where direct competitors help each other out but I can safely say that the spirits industry in the UK seems to be one. It seems counter intuitive but we generally all feel like we are small business up against the big guys rather than each other. This has created a really fun community of people and we are proud to call ourselves part of. 

What is an unexpected perk of running a spirit brand? 

Well at Sapling it means lots of days out of the office planting trees. We recently planted 15 mature trees with the Virgin Atlantic team. It was raining and windy, but we had an incredible time. 

What do you love about Wolf & Badger?

We love Wolf & Badger's commitment to being a B Corp brand, like us. We understand the competitive nature of the fashion industry and how easy it can be to prioritise profit over sustainability and think it’s a great platform that supports so many amazing independent brands that help consumers make more ethical choices.